Parasites infect almost all dogs in their lifetime. It is a common problem for all dogs. These microbial creatures make the dog their habitat and lives on by sucking vital nutrients from the dog’s body. Unlike probiotics, parasites don’t provide any health benefits to the dog. These microbial creatures only deteriorate the dog’s health in every possible way. For this reason, every dog owner is required to expand their knowledge on this subject. Appropriate knowledge and information about parasites will help them cartel various health problems of the dog. Here is some must-have information and treatment tips about parasites, which will help the dog owner to control these microbial creatures.
What are Parasites in dogs?
According to the scientific term, A Parasite is a very small organism that lives on other species and feeds on its body fluid. Over a period the Parasite multiplies itself and expands its habitation area. Slowly it takes over different parts of the dog’s body and causes various types of health problems. Most dogs often show behavioural changes after getting infected by parasites.
Parasites can be classified into three categories; these are internal, intestinal, and external. Each type of parasite is different and they make the dog sick in different ways. Closely observing the dog’s behaviour and examine it thoroughly can give some clear understanding of which kind of parasite has infested the dog.
Types of parasites in dogs
Parasites in dogs are classified according to their habitation area. If a parasite lives in a dog’s body then it is referred to as an internal parasite. When a parasite lives in a dog’s intestine then it is referred to as intestinal parasites. Similarly, when a parasite makes its habitat on a dog’s skin, it is referred to as external parasites. These parasites are also different in characteristics. Here are a few common types of parasites found in dogs.
Internal Parasites in dogs
Internal Parasites are those parasites, which make their habitat inside the dog’s veins and artery. These are very dangerous parasites and they can become the primary reason behind the dog’s death.
The most vicious internal parasite in dogs is Heartworms. This parasite makes its habitation in the dog’s bloodstream. It slowly grows larger over time (up to one foot long). It clogs arteries over time and blocks the significant blood supply to the dog’s vital organs. Most of the time, this parasite develops in a dog’s heart. The dog can get this parasite from other infected dogs or infected mosquito bites.
This parasite is also known as a silent killer. After getting infected by this parasite, the dog doesn’t show any major symptoms in the early stage. As the heartworm grows oversize, the dog expresses fatigue. Over a short amount of time, the dog acts lethargically. At the later stage, the dog shows a mild but persistent cough.
Diagnosing this parasite in the early stage can be very challenging for new dog owners. Only an experienced veterinarian can diagnose this parasite. Proper medical screening is required to identify this parasite.
This parasitical infestation can be treated with medical intervention. At the early stage of infection, Antibiotic like doxycycline is very effective. However, at the mature stage of this parasite, only injectable drugs like Melarsomine can kill Heartworms. In some extreme cases, surgery is required for the dog.
Intestinal parasites are those micro-organisms that live in the dog’s intestine. These parasites also live inside the dog’s body. However, they inhabit no other place besides the dog’s intestine. Some common types of Intestinal parasites are ringworms, hookworms, tapeworms, roundworms, etc. Let’s learn more about them.
It is a type of fungus. In most cases, puppies catch this parasite easily. The immature immunity system of puppies lets this parasite thrive in the intestine. Just like puppies, ringworm can also infect a malnourished dog.
This parasite infection does make graze marks on different parts of the dog’s body. These graze marks look like bald spots with a red dotted centre. These marks can be found on the dog’s head, forelimbs, ears, and paws.
The dog owner has to utilize both topical and systemic therapy to eliminate ringworm. Frequently give the dog bath with an antifungal shampoo and apply antifungal ointments on the infected surface. Anti-fungal medicines like Fluconazole tablets also eradicate this parasite.
This parasite prospers and grows rapidly in the dog’s intestine. Most of the time dogs get this parasite from dirty soil. Parasite’s eggs are very common elements in dirty soil. Some puppies also inherit them from their mother. This parasite feeds on the dog’s blood and makes him weak day by day.
Primary symptoms of this parasite are loos of appetite and consistent weight loss. Sometimes the dog also experiences a stomach ache from this parasite. Blood in the stool can also be found when the number of infestations increases too much.
Anthelmintics type medicines are very effective against Hookworms. However, these medicines can only eradicate adult Hookworms. For this reason, the dog must have two or more dosage of this medicine within two weeks apart.
This parasite grows very long; it also looks similar to a tape or ribbon. Its head has many needle-like hooks. The parasite uses these needles to attach itself to the dog’s intestine and feed on its blood. Wild animals like rodents, birds, or rabbits transmit tapeworm eggs from one place to another. A dog can ingest these eggs when it plays outside in wild.
The primary symptom of this parasite is Anaemia. Day by day the dog will become pale and bloodless. Along with a shortage of blood, most dogs infected with this parasite lose their appetite. In many cases, the dog also experiences mild fever.
Medicine like praziquantel is very effective against Tapeworms. This medicine is available in both injection and tablet form. Upon checking the dog’s physical condition only a trained veterinarian administers this medicine.
Most of the time, this parasite attacks small puppies. This parasite can grow up to 3 inches long and has the appearance of spaghetti. Roundworms live in the lower intestine region of the dog. For survival, it feeds on the dog’s internal body fluid. Many times, Roundworms come out of the dog’s body with its stool.
Loss of appetite and weakness is the main symptoms of this parasite infection. Dogs show deteriorating health condition as the number Roundworms raise over time. With too many Roundworms, many dogs start coughing, vomiting, and suffer from diarrhea.
Only deworming medicines can treat this parasite. There are many deworming medicines available in the market like milbemycin, fenbendazole, piperazine, moxidectin, and pyrantel. For total annihilation of this parasite administer these medicines in three dosages every two weeks apart.
External Dog Parasites
These parasites live on the skin of the dog. For a dog, they are very irritating. These parasites cause itching. They also bite off hair follicles and cause hair drops and other skin infections. External dog parasites can ruin a dog’s healthy skin within a couple of weeks. The most common external dog parasites are fleas, mites, and ticks.
It is a very small wingless insect. Some dogs are very sensitive to it and get very irritated by their bites, while other dogs are more careless about them. Fleas bites cause red itchy bumps on the dog’s skin. Most fleas jump from one dog to another and spread very quickly. Hungry fleas can also bite humans and other pet animals.
Multiple red bumps on a dog’s skin are a telltale sign of fleas infestation. Many small dogs also suffer from bloodlessness and other skin related diseases. With close inspection, tiny black specks size fleas can be spotted on the dog’s skin.
There are multiple types of anti-flea shampoo available in the market. Some medicines like Bravecto, Comfortis, and Trifexis kill fleas within a couple of minutes. Most of these medicines resist new fleas attack for one to two months only.
One of the most irritating parasites for dogs is mites. Even though, they can make their habitation in any part of the dog’s skin. But most of the time the choose dog’s ear for their habitation. These parasites suck body fluid from the dog’s skin and make the area dry. As a result, the area attracts various other skin diseases.
Mites often cause mange disease in dogs. This disease is the basis of rapid shedding in dogs. It is also prime responsible for other skin diseases like cheyletiellosis and trombiculosis. The initial symptom of mite infection is Dandruff formation on the dog’s skin.
Simple anti-parasitic wash is the best way to control mites in dogs. However, mites are very persistent and they can return any time from other mite-infected dogs. For this reason, keeping the dog away from other mite infected dogs is the best way to prevent this parasite.
It is an eight-legged parasite and it looks like a very small spider. This spider holds the dog’s fur very strongly and sucks blood from the dog’s body. Too much infestation of mites even causes anemia in dogs. Most adult mites are milometer long and with close inspection, they are visible to eyes.
Most of the time, ticks attach themselves around the folded area of the dog’s body. Ticks are also a carrier of other ailments like Lyme disease.
There are various types of brushes available in the market, which help to remove ticks from the dog’s body. However, these brushes only give a good result on small tick infestation. Tick collar is also another option to prevent tick infestation. Consult a veterinarian for large tick infestation on the dog’s body.
Parasites are a great threat to the dog’s health. They make their inhabitation both inside and outside the dog’s body. These parasites also feed on the dog’s body fluid and make the animal weak in every possible way. Parasites also diminish the dog’s immunity system and attract various other diseases. Regular grooming and a sanitized environment is the best way to prevent parasite attack on dogs. Check the dog every week for parasite infestation. In the market, there are various types of anti-parasitical medicines available. The dog owner can consult with a veterinarian to administer these medicines to the dog. These medicines in the early stage eliminate parasites quickly.